Philadelphia Phillies: Phillippe Aumont’s First Impression

August 23, 2012 by  
Filed under Fan News

Phillippe Aumont’s struggle with control was evident in his major league debut Thursday night against the Cincinnati Reds.

Most notably, on two 2-2 counts, Aumont failed to get a breaking ball across the plate—not by a little bit, either. When he threw balls, he may as well have missed by a mile.

Those are the kinds of mistakes that will keep him in the minor leagues. In such situations, when the pitcher makes that mistake, he forces himself into a 3-2 fastball count.

If it wasn’t for a spectacular play by Jimmy Rollins, Aumont would have found himself in some trouble.

Why did he struggle?

Granted, it was only one inning, but Aumont’s delivery looked inconsistent. That’s probably why he has the issues he does.

However, it wasn’t all bad. Aumont’s velocity was definitely there—something he can build on.

In fact, a few of his fastballs had quite a bit of bite on them.

Nonetheless, Aumont needs to have better control—especially with his breaking ball. Otherwise, his time with the big club will be short-lived.

As it stands, based on Aumont’s performance, the Phillies will have to seek bullpen depth via free agency. 

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

The Luxury Tax and the Philadelphia Phillies’ 2013 Offseason

August 12, 2012 by  
Filed under Fan News

First, let’s get a fundamental, working understanding of the most significant player in the upcoming free agent pool for the Philadelphia Phillies: the luxury tax.

A team’s payroll includes more than just player salaries. Things like travel expenses, Social Security, pensions, postseason pay, medical benefits, and several other elements factor into the luxury tax equation.

As far as salaries go, each player has an average annual value (AAV) that is based on the average of the amount of guaranteed money in his contract. If the AAVs of every player on a team’s 40-man roster exceeds $178M, that team will have to pay the luxury tax.

That might sound complicated; but, it’s not that simple, especially when trying to forecast the Phillies’ payroll, and then trying to determine their best free agency options in the upcoming offseason.

David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News projected the 2013 Phillies’ roster operating under the luxury tax in an interesting way. Based on his analysis, below is the Phillies’ lineup with their salaries, and their AAV in parenthesis. Those with an asterisk are estimates based on upcoming arbitration.

Starting Lineup:

C: Carlos Ruiz, $5M ($3.375M)

1B: Ryan Howard, $20M ($25M)

2B: Chase Utley, $15M ($12.1M)

3B: Empty

SS: Jimmy Rollins, $11M, ($9.5M)

LF: Nate Schierholtz, $2.75M ($2.75M)*

CF: Empty

RF: Dominic Brown, $.480M*


1. Laynce Nix, $1.35M ($1.25M)

2. John Mayberry, Jr., $.515M ($.515M)

3. Empty

4. Empty

5. Empty

Starting Rotation:

1. Roy Hallday, $20M ($20M)

2. Cliff Lee, $25M, ($24M)

3. Cole Hamels, $24M ($24M)


4. Vance Worley, $.515M ($.515M)*

5. Kyle Kendrick, $4.5M ($3.75M)



1. Jonathan Papelbon, $13M ($12.5M)

2. Antonio Bastardo, $1.5M ($1.5M)*

3. Josh Lindblom, $.515M ($.515M)*

4. Jake Diekman, $.495 ($.495)*

5. Empty

6. Empty

7. Empty

Based on’s Matt Gelb’s analysis, let’s assume the Phillies’ other expenses that will count against the luxury tax will include $10.5M on benefits, $2.5M on the rest of the 40 man roster’s AAVs, and $2M on bonuses (for awards, All-Star appearances, etc.).

So, going into the 2013 offseason, all things considered, Ruben Amaro, Jr. and the Phillies will have $157.5M already against the $178M luxury tax. That leaves them with $20.5M to invest in free agency.

With that $20.5M, the Phillies need a third baseman, a center fielder, three bench players, and three arms in the bullpen.

Now, I am in no way qualified to project MLB free agent contracts, or to determine which minor league players should be called up, but I am going to give it a shot.

Let’s address the pitching needs first, since this is the area where the Phillies’ farm system is most abundant.

I’m sending Kyle Kendrick to the bullpen, and calling up Justin De Fratus or Phillippe Aumont to join him.

There are three names, one of whom would replace Kendrick in the rotation. They are: Trevor May, Jonathan Pettibone, and Tyler Cloyd. My money is on Jonathan Pettibone. Trevor May is having a rough year, and Cloyd throws between 85 and 90mph, which isn’t hard enough for the MLB. I’m not too sure his minor league success would translate to the big leagues. But, I think he definitely deserves a shot.

Now, we’ll address the three empty bench spots by giving Tyson Gillies and his .295/.375/.448 a shot. He’s fast, and he’s not having a terrible year in the minors. Plus, we need money for free agents.

Also, we’ll Keep Erik Kratz as our backup catcher, and assume he’ll continue to make something around the league minimum after arbitration.

We still need a utility man. So, I’m going to propose keeping Freddy “The Juice” Galvis around to fill that void on the bench. He’s an outstanding defensive player, and his bat was starting to come around before he got suspended for using PEDs. I’ve taken that into consideration.

With these moves, we’re assuming that the players who are eligible for arbitration stay somewhere around the league minimum. In that case, we have about $2.5M more against our $157.5M, and we’ve plugged five holes.

Now, we turn our attention to free agency. We have $18M so spend on players for the 2013 roster.

The free agent outfielder market is pretty deep, but the most logical choice for the Phillies is Cody Ross.

Ross rakes at CBP, and he is currently outperforming his one year, $3M deal with the Red Sox.

I could see him coming to Philadelphia for three or four years, at something between $6M and $8M. So, we’ll split the difference and make it $7M.

Mind you, this is a speculative, best-case scenario. So, we have $11M to spend on a third baseman and an arm.

At third base, Kevin Youkilis has a $13M club option for 2013, which I don’t see the White Sox picking up. So, let’s say he hits the market, and in the best-case scenario, he wants $8M-$10M. Again, we’ll split the difference and say he’s asking $9M, and the Phillies sign him.

We now have $2M left to spend on the bullpen, or we can keep Jeremy Horst around. I’d recommend offering Peter Moylan $2M. But, who knows if that’s acceptable? There’s really not much flexibility here.


In summation, with these kinds of moves, and a healthy 2013 lineup, the Phillies could be back in NL East contention.

Players like Cody Ross and Kevin Youkilis are the kinds of contributors the Phillies haven’t had all year: solid players who know what it takes to win games.

Now, I am not a major league GM. But, if the figures I’ve assembled here are anything close to accurate, I don’t see the Phillies having many other options for the future. Unless, of course, Cliff Lee is traded.

Then, we’d have a whole new ball game. 

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Why Michael Bourn Is Not a Good Option for the Phillies

August 10, 2012 by  
Filed under Fan News

In order to contend in the future, the Philadelphia Phillies have a few critical weaknesses they need to address. ESPN’s Buster Olney states that the Phillies are interested in Michael Bourn as the answer to many of the team’s questions about the future. But, bringing him to Philadelphia would be counterproductive to any effort Ruben Amaro, Jr. could make in getting the Phillies back into contention.

For starters, Michael Bourn is going to be 30 years old next year. He’s also represented by Scott Boras, who will undoubtedly make Bourn appear to be worth much more than he actually is, and that will probably be somewhere in the $15 million to $20 million range. The Phillies need to get younger in a fiscally responsible way.

If the Phils are to make a comeback in 2013, they need to produce more runs. In a perfect world, they would sign Melky Carbrera to a reasonable contract, and he would bat third. But, that’s probably not in the cards.

Instead, the Phillies need to consider other options that would plug the holes in their batting order and enable more runners to cross home plate. A good way to do this would be through the acquisition of a solid leadoff man, which is what Michael Bourn is billed to be.

But, there are areas of concern when evaluating Bourn’s potential role with the Phillies.

A leadoff man is supposed to get on base. Michael Bourn’s .347 OBP thus far is 58th in the majors. He also strikes out fairly often. This year, he has been called out on strikes 110 times. That’s the fourth most among major league outfielders. With two more, he’d be tied for second.

The Phillies are already one of baseball’s most undisciplined teams at the plate, which has been detrimental to their offense this year. Signing Michael Bourn could potentially exacerbate this situation.

Some may say that Bourn makes up for these flaws in his game with his ability to steal bases. But, he won’t be as effective in this regard for much longer. He is, after all, about to be 30. Players slow down with age. In fact, Bourn isn’t even among the top three leaders in base stealing. So, even though that may be a big part of his game, he’s not the best, and it’s not a part worth $20 million.

At best, Michael Bourn is a good, solid, everyday outfielder on any ballclub. But, there are far too many problems that would make it very difficult to justify bringing him to Philadelphia, especially for the kind of money he’s going to want. Even if he was to make himself affordable, would he be a good fit? Would he be one of the missing pieces of the Phillies’ puzzle?

Probably not.

Michael Bourn doesn’t get on base enough, hardly has any power, is only batting .289, isn’t the game’s best base stealer and he’s getting older. If he comes to Philadelphia, by 2014 or 2015, the Phillies are going to have far too much money wrapped up in far too many old players.

So, seeing Michael Bourn in red pinstripes is a nightmarish offseason scenario. 

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

The Philadelphia Phillies’ Biggest Disappointments Since the 2008 World Series

August 10, 2012 by  
Filed under Fan News

The Philadelphia Phillies have doubtlessly been the most successful franchise in the City of Brotherly Love since they won the World Series in 2008.

Until this year, the Phils have been one of baseball’s most dominant forces, beginning each season with World Series aspirations, but ending each season in the most heartbreaking ways.

Today, the Phillies are NL East bottom dwellers. Along the road to the basement of the division, the Phillies have had some moments that have been outright devastating. Some have come on the field, and others have happened off the field. This slideshow will highlight the most gut-wrenching of these disappointments.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

The Philadelphia Phillies All-Time Lineup

August 5, 2012 by  
Filed under Fan News

The end of the most dominant era of Philadelphia baseball is most likely upon us. In the wake of this unfortunate realization, I take solace in pondering the greatness of Phillies teams past. Not only the ones I saw, but also imagining what it would have been like to be a spectator in the stands for those teams which came long before my time.

I have compiled what I believe to be the best lineup one could make, selecting the cream of the crop from every player to ever wear the red pinstripes. Enjoy!

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

What Waiving Pitcher Cliff Lee Means for the Philadelphia Phillies

August 4, 2012 by  
Filed under Fan News

According to the Los Angeles Times, the Philadelphia Phillies recently waived starting pitcher Cliff Lee’s contract.

Shortly after these reports were made public, other reports surfaced that Lee had been claimed by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

But, what does this mean?

Essentially, Lee was waived to gauge interest from other clubs. In cases like this, the GM who waives a particular player is not necessarily trying to move the player. Rather, he is seeing what he could get for that player if he were to try to move him.

Cliff Lee is owed $85M. From the looks of things, Philadelphia Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. is selling off high-priced players he doesn’t believe can be the contributors they once were, or contributors that he can use to keep the Phillies in contention.

Reportedly, the Los Angeles Dodgers claimed Cliff Lee. Now, they can work out a trade with the Phillies.

According to ESPNLA, Cliff Lee will not be heading to the Dodgers any time soon.

Reportedly, Amaro is asking too much in return. Amaro probably wants top-tier prospects, and the opposing team to take on the remainder of Lee’s contract. But, what team is simple-minded enough to do that?

What does all of this mean for the Phillies?

It screams that the team is having financial issues. No MLB team has ever had as many starting pitchers as the Phillies making more than $20M (Halladay, Lee and Hamels).

What this also says is that Amaro is probably considering dumping off Lee’s contract so that he can invest that salary into the team’s other needs.

But, Ruben Amaro, Jr. has said that he has no interest in moving Cliff Lee. Truthfully, he probably doesn’t.

This has all been blown out of proportion. Amaro did the right thing. If he wasn’t gauging interest in a 33-year-old starting pitcher with $85M left on his contract, with a record like Lee’s, on a last place team, then fans should call for Amaro’s head.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

An Evaluation of Philadelphia Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro, Jr.

August 1, 2012 by  
Filed under Fan News

The 2012 MLB trade deadline has come and gone.

Just like each of the last three years, Philadelphia Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. has made moves involving a few valuable players.

The only difference this year? He was a seller.

This past Tuesday, Amaro traded outfielders Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence, two moves that have been met with mixed reviews.

Since then, the idea of firing Amaro has been a more prevalent issue raised in the world of Philadelphia Phillies fandom.

Could this be a logical solution to the Phillies’ 2012 woes?

In order to determine whether or not Ruben Amaro, Jr. should or should not keep his job, let’s examine the most prominent moves in his body of work since taking over following the team’s 2008 World Series championship.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies